With or Without, Charles Dickinson
Charles Dickinson

With or Without

241 printed pages
Set in family homes, factories, shops, small-town streets, backyards-the familiar landscapes of our everyday lives-these stories take us by surprise as they plumb the complex and often tenuous connections that exist between child and parent, husband and wife, friend and friend, the individual and his own thoughts:
— The unwitting jinx at a garbage collection company-accidents happen around him, not to him-avoids becoming the company pariah when he’s shown a way to make his “powers” work to everyone’s advantage…
— A man taught by his father’s example to disdain work, and who married into a family obsessed with it (his sever brothers-in-law, carpenters, built his house while he passed out the beers), may have found his calling at last-in sophisticated self-amusement…
— On a picket line-across months of long, cold nights-a man and a woman are drawn together by a shared desperate optimism and by the scent of the woman’s perfume…
— The game of Risk played habitually-obsessively-by a group of friends becomes a strangely unsettling reflection of their own tangled lives…
— Facing a middle age and a growing sense of emptiness, a man convinces himself that his dead friend-whose life he always envied, whose approval would validate his own life-has never died…
— When his teacher, and then his parents, dub him a “goof,” a young boy hesitantly unveils graphic proof that he’s already mastered his father’s dream of being an artist…
In each of the ten stories, Charles Dickinson puts a spin on the ordinary. It is the pleasure of these stories that they enable us to see what would perhaps otherwise remain hidden: humor in the most mundane situation, eloquence in a simple human gesture, the quirky, telling, sometimes ennobling moments in the day-to-dayness of life.
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